Our mission: To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.
NSSF Statement on Newtown Tragedy
We at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) have been deeply shaken and saddened by the horrible events that took place in Newtown, Connecticut, our headquarters and home. In a small community there are not many degrees of separation and so, not surprisingly, we had family, friends and acquaintances that were affected. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and the victims of this terrible tragedy.
As the 8,325 member trade association for America's firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, NSSF is ready to participate in any federal or other commission on public safety and firearms to address the many issues that are part of this complex situation. In fact, NSSF has already met with Vice President Biden's office as well as the House Democratic Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
The Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute was founded in 1926 at the behest of the U.S. government to set technical standards for safety and reliability in the design, manufacture, transportation, storage and use of firearms, ammunition and components. SAAMI, too, is committed to a technically accurate discussion on this important topic.
NSSF joins others in calling for a comprehensive approach that addresses many complex social issues, including school safety, preventing unauthorized firearms access, mental health, personal privacy, the popular media, and enforcing our existing laws while safeguarding constitutional rights.
We are the experts on firearms and their commerce. We are engaged in this dialog based on what we believe and what we are doing regarding the prevention of unauthorized access to firearms, including by minors and mentally disturbed individuals. For example:
NSSF is expanding its nationally recognized Project ChildSafe gun safety program to further emphasize the necessity of proper storage of firearms in homes where young or at-risk persons reside. NSSF includes appropriate materials on securing firearms in its firearm safety kits that include a gun locking device. Working in partnership with law enforcement agencies, Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 35 million firearm safety kits free of charge to firearm owners nationwide. Fortunately, firearms accidents in all age groups have fallen to a century-long low.
NSSF is committed to its ongoing cooperation with law enforcement to help prevent firearms from being illegally purchased for criminals and other unauthorized individuals best exemplified by our retailer education and public awareness campaign, "Don't Lie for The Other Guy." In a decade-long partnership with U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), NSSF has distributed free of charge tens of thousands of educational kits to retailers to help them identify and prevent illegally purchased firearms. Our public service announcements have been seen by tens of millions of Americans in over 30 media markets selected by ATF.
The NSSF matches rewards offered by ATF for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for thefts of firearms from federally licensed firearms retailers.
NSSF has advocated for innovative programs, such as sales tax exemptions for firearms security devices, to promote greater safety measures in keeping children and unauthorized persons from accessing firearms. Today, the vast majority of firearms are shipped from their manufacturers with appropriate locking devices.
NSSF has long supported the 2008 NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Checks) Improvements Amendments Act that addresses gaps in information available to NICS, such as court decisions related to individuals' mental health status.
NSSF and SAAMI are a resource for much needed technical accuracy in this discussion. It is inaccurate, for example, to state that semiautomatic firearms have no lawful purpose. For well over 100 years, many millions of law-abiding citizens have owned and responsibly used semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns for hunting, target shooting, collecting and personal protection. Semiautomatics are among the most popular hunting rifles, shotguns and target pistols. Currently, millions of law-abiding Americans responsibly own and safely use modern sporting rifles, which may resemble military firearms in appearance but which function no differently from other types of semiautomatic firearms. Modern sporting rifles are commonly used for hunting, target shooting, home defense and collecting.
We must all work together to help prevent those who exhibit reckless disregard for human life and values access to firearms for criminal purposes. But we must also preserve the constitutional rights of tens of millions of law-abiding Americans to safely and responsibly own, store and use firearms for personal protection, hunting and recreation. America's firearms industry welcomes the opportunity to be a part of a respectful and constructive dialogue on this important topic.